What You Should Know About Love
People matter to you until they don’t. Until they don’t make sense, until they make you sick. You feel embarrassed and maybe you feel ashamed that you could care so much about someone only to watch those feelings so bitterly dissolve. This is a cruel fact of life, something that we only learn through all the people we’ve ever disappointed and who have disappointed us. I don’t know which is worse though. Realizing that you’ve invested in nothing, that this was all an elaborate web that stung you in the end. Or understanding that you will betray your own feelings, feelings that you could’ve sworn weren’t so ephemeral.
It’s easy to fall in love with Love and in fact many people do. They find someone, decide that they like the idea of them, decide that they’d look good together skiing in Aspen and posing in Instagram pics. They figure that both being obsessed with The Smiths and hailing from the same state are grounds for a strong connection so they plunge right in. They submerge themselves in the water and realize, all too suddenly, that it’s shallow. Oh no.
Some leave right then. They feel their toes hit the ground immediately and decide to get the hell out of there. That’s why there are so many relationships that only last six months. It usually takes that long for an Idea to become a person. It’s like you’re unwrapping a present for 180 days and then it finally reveals itself. Now you can either be like, “Return it. I don’t want it.” or “Okay, I can work with this.”
Here’s what love needs in order to survive: intimacy. (NOW DON’T USE BIG WORDS YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.) You can’t love a wall, you can’t love an emotionally closed-off psycho, you can’t love someone who doesn’t respect you. Well, you can, but it will be one-sided and true intimacy can only occur when both parties are in it to win it.
Intimacy can be loud, like an exploding firework of stinging colors that will burn your eyeballs right off, or it can be a little nudge, a subtle whatever of goodness that’ll make your body feel all warm and safe inside. It can take the shape and form of many things: putting your arm in front of someone as they attempt to jaywalk and there’s a car zooming toward them, washing someone’s hair in the shower, taking care of a drunk deflated body and putting it to bed, being able to poop freely and without anxiety when the person you have sex with is in the next room, naps together in the middle of the afternoon, or watching the television together in comfortable silence. It’s about not judging. It’s about fucking. It’s about not being who you feel like you have to be. It’s about not feeling like you to have to say sorry for anything because the person you’re with doesn’t need an apology to love you more.
Love can disappear while you’re sleeping. Sometimes you get it back and sometimes you don’t. The point is to not be scared of it while it’s there. Although love is amazing and everyone claims to want it, true love can actually be fucking terrifying and overwhelming. The best thing you can do for yourself though is not let your fears rob you of something truly special.
Give thanks, love more, and smile often.
By Michael Koh
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